Luxury Mane, among other subgenres, is essentially an impeccably dressed three-piece indie rock group from Florida, USA, fronted by Billy Summer. Their latest release is Lux Running Out, and it’s a small uninspired collection of tunes displaying their favourite styles throughout the ages; from glam rock, to psychedelic 60s rock to pop rock, with a few others thrown in for good measure.
The record commences with ‘Got A Need,’ a dreamy summery track with trippy backing vocals and a whiff of aforementioned glam rock flavour. The relaxed and chilled factor comes through in the lyrics: “I don’t need to go out and see anybody / I can sit on my couch and turn myself to putty.” That’s the dream, after all, especially after a day stuck in the “rat race.”
Just when you think you have them figured out from the first track, they drop ‘Julian’ with a psychedelic fadeout to shake it up a little. Summer’s guitar work is rather Pink Floyd ‘Wish You Were Here,’ and the vocals and lyrics are much like The Beatles during their ‘creative’ phase in the late ‘60s. It fast becomes clear to expect the unexpected with these guys. At least, at first.
‘Eating A Milky Way Tonight’ is surely Luxury Mane’s ode to The Cure, with an almost identical riffing style. The lyrics are quaint, and precious, and make you gush: “You’re my cherry pop, I’m your lemon drop / You’re my reason to revive.” Summer’s drawling melodies give more of his signature relaxed vibe, plus he lays down an impressive guitar solo at the end.
They fiercely honour their creative influences, which is kind of charming but also at times drab and unoriginal.
The album doesn’t seem to move in a particular direction, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. If the whole idea is to go with the flow, and to say and play the first thing that comes into your mind, Luxury Mane have nailed it.
On a positive note, their intros are one of their main strengths, being vast, endless, and different almost every time. Case in point: ‘The Bay’. It has a sense of escaping to the seaside in your car, with the top down, soaking up the crystal-clear summer goodness. Not to hyperbolise, but this would have to be one of the most laidback songs in existence. This is only enhanced by the words “swimming in the bay” being continuously repeated during the fadeout.
‘Hard To Be Easy’ is a soft psychedelic rock number and the lead single for Lux Running Out. The three seem to be more in tune with each other, rather than playing their instruments aimlessly. Reverberating melodies from Summer create a dreamlike haze, as does his awesome solo, which teleports you to waving a lighter in the air at a summer festival. Lyrics like this only further ignite the atmosphere: “I’ve been failing to find / a way to mellow my mind.” Kyle Lovell’s drumming is a stand out, too, at least compared to the other tracks.
In a change of pace, ‘Alex Van Halen’ is a short and sharp tune, both upbeat and energised. It makes you want to alternately bop and sway side to side. The catchy riffs and hooky beats poke at the corners of your smile.
The bare bones music with trippy backdrops continue, becoming a tad repetitive. That being said, Summer has a charisma about him that can’t be contained, in that it comes in waves but is ever present.
There’s a distinct impression Luxury Mane are making music for themselves for the fun of it, and if anyone else happens to listen and like it, that’s gravy to them. You have to admire their carefree nature, in a way.
Closing song ‘Medical Mind’ begins with a mechanically distorted voice, much like the start of ‘Julian.’ There’s a broodier mood, and Summer’s vocals blend with the instruments in one garbled mess that, in a strange way, seems to work. At the same time, though, there’s a feeling of relief that the journey is finally coming to an end.
The trick here is to not try and figure out what Luxury Mane are trying to achieve. Ignore the fact that their sound is about as original as a car horn that plays ‘La Cucaracha.’ Just enjoy the melodies, enjoy the beats, and enjoy the various homages to their musical influences. Don’t have high expectations, and you may find some enjoyment in this listening experience.
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